Sun Concept wins “Chivas The Venture” award and represents Portugal in international competition

The Algarve company Sun Concept won the national stage of the “Chivas The Venture” entrepreneurship award, which distinguishes startups from […]

The Algarve company Sun Concept won the national stage of the «Chivas The Venture» entrepreneurship award, which distinguishes startups of social and environmental entrepreneurship from all over the world, and will be in Los Angeles, in the United States of America, in July, to compete with 29 projects for the final prize of one million dollars (about 935 euros), after already have collected 3 euros in this first phase.

“We had a good performance and now we are going to prepare the international competition, which has a fantastic prize. It was the recognition that our project is interesting, both in environmental and social terms, the two dimensions of the competition», he summarized to Sul Informação Manuel Brito, general director and founding partner of the company.

A distinction that put the shipbuilding company from Olho, specialized in solar boats, thinking about a more ambitious development plan for the future, taking into account that the exposure it will have may force it to grow faster than the company's partners anticipated.

“We, today, still don't know where this is going to end. We can go a long way, not only for this award, but for everything we are doing in terms of publicity. Thus, we will have to move much faster than we were expecting and, therefore, it is natural that new capital will be needed”, said Manuel Brito, who is also the main financier of Sun Concept.

«We are now at the Boot Fair in Düsseldorf and we have been promoting ourselves in other places, namely in Spain. If demand accelerates, it will probably exceed the capacity we currently have and we will have to think about new facilities and hiring more staff», he explained.

A planning job that will take place as soon as the team returns from Germany. “We are going to bring together the main structure of the company next week to discuss the essential issues, which have already been identified. We have to be able to respond to the anticipated demand, otherwise we risk dying on the beach», considered the company's general director.

Right now, Sun Concept is developing new models, which raises some questions. “The energy efficiency of the hulls is essential, as this is where the good energy performance of a vessel begins. Another issue is the domain of energy technology, namely solar panels, electric motors and batteries, plus the respective software», said Manuel Brito.

To achieve technological advances, the Algarve company has been working with the Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa, in addition to the direct collaboration of an electrical engineer, who «is developing and looking for the best technological solutions».

The next step “is the own design, identifying the brand”. “We want people in the future to look at our boats and say right away that this is a Sun Concept model,” he said.

This requires investing money. The good news is that with the inclusion of Sun Concept in the list of 30 finalists for the contest, many doors open. Firstly, the opportunity to participate in an Accelerator Week at Oxford University, organized by The Skoll Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

«We will be there at the end of March. Teachers and experienced people in the area will give us tools for the proper development of our project. They will also put us in contact with potential investors, venture capital and the like. This is also a good opportunity», he considered.

When these meetings with potential investors take place, those responsible for Sun Concept want to be as well prepared as possible.